Science

New Hybrid Whale-Dolphin Discovered Off Hawaii

New Hybrid Whale-Dolphin Discovered Off Hawaii”

Scientists are touting the first sighting of a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin in the ocean off Hawaii.

Whales and dolphins both belong to the same taxonomic order, and are closely enough related that offspring between them can be fertile and have been recorded although they are extremely rare.

Scientists from the Cascadia Research Collective observed the pair off the Hawaiian Islands and confirmed that the existence of the hybrid in August 2017. Like orcas, beluga whales and pilot whales, melon-headed whales are actually a species of dolphin, or delphinidae - and dolphins are a sub-family of whales to boot.

However, for that to happen other things need to occur, including more widespread hybridisation, Baird said.

The hybrid, pictured in the foreground, swims next to a rare melon-headed whale which is possibly its mother. This provided additional information on the effects which Navy sonar has on local marine life.

Kimberly A Wood/Cascadia Research The hybrid is in the front, with the melon-headed whale that researchers suspect is the mother. Aww!

"Such hybridization, where the genetic data of one species is integrated into another, has always been suspected as a source of taxonomic uncertainty in dolphins, and this case lends support to that", Baird added. Scientists are touting the first sighting of the hybrid off Hawaii.

The so-called wolphin has been confirmed by scientists after it was spotted on a research trip near Kauai island.

Baird continued to explain that the "morphological appearance" of the animal promoted researchers to get a biopsy sample.

Many animal hybrids are possible, but few survive past the first generation.

He said: "Calling it something like a wholphin doesn't make any sense".

Four years later, Keikaimalu was born at Hawaii's Sea Life Park in Hawaii, the result of "an unplanned union" between a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Two of the ocean's most beloved sea creatures morph into one incredible animal, as a team of researchers discovered in the past year.

A mule, for instance, is a hybrid between a male donkey and a female horse.

A likely scenario for how the hybrid came to be is a melon-headed whale getting separated from its group and ending up traveling with rough-toothed dolphins.

This latest hybrid animal is not the first to be branded with the "wholfin" name.

The hybrid named Keikaimalu still lives at the marine mammal park, where she helps teach children about genetics.



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